KUT kicks off 2018 by offering more local news

Austin NPR affiliate 90.5 KUT-FM started off 2018 by adding more local programming to its lineup.

The station has expanded “Morning Edition,” which now ends at 10 a.m. instead of 9 a.m. Jennifer Stayton hosts the new 9 a.m. hour.

That means NPR’s “On Point,” which had been heard at 9 a.m., is now off the KUT schedule.

The 9 a.m. hour will have a heavy local emphasis, the station said, with more news breaks, as well as long-form interviews with local newsmakers.

“Austin’s interest in public radio journalism has never been higher, as shown by the increasing numbers of Austinites turning to KUT 90.5 for news each day,” said Hawk Mendenhall, associate general manager of broadcast and content services for KUT. “And as Austin has grown, so has the need for more news coverage. This additional hour of ‘Morning Edition’ will enable us to deliver more news from our community, the nation and the world on a daily basis.”

In other KUT programming news, Alec Baldwin’s “Here’s the Thing” will replace “The Dinner Party Download,” which has ended production, Fridays at 9 p.m.

Changes at KUT: More news on weekends, new reporter hired

Claire McInerny (KUT photo)

With “Car Talk” wrapping up production after 30 years on the air, 90.5 KUT-FM has made some adjustments to its weekend schedule.

The new weekend lineup, which took effect this month, features eight additional hours of news programming and new time slots for a number of shows.

“Weekend Edition” now ends at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday – running for an extra hour both days – and BBC World Service starts three hours earlier Saturday and Sunday, hitting the airwaves at 10 p.m.

A new addition is NPR’s “Only a Game,” airing at 6 a.m. Saturdays. The sports magazine show is hosted by NPR commentator Bill Littlefield.

Meanwhile, some of the station’s lowest-rated programs have been dropped from the weekend lineup, including “Public Radio Remix,” “Studio 360,” “Bullseye with Jesse Thorn” and “The Splendid Table.”

“Discontinuing shows is always a difficult decision and will disappoint some listeners,” KUT said in a written statement. “The goal of the new schedule is to deliver more of the news programming that has been so successful for KUT 90.5 across the week.”

View the complete KUT schedule at kut.org.

Speaking of KUT, there’s a new addition to the station’s news team.

Claire McInerny is taking over the education beat at Austin’s NPR affiliate.

She arrives from Bloomington, Ind., where she worked as a producer, newsreader and education reporter at NPR station WFIU.

McInerny has a journalism degree from the University of Kansas.

Longtime KUT radio host retires

Bob Branson / KUT photo)
Bob Branson (KUT photo)

Longtime 90.5 KUT-FM radio host Bob Branson announced his official retirement Monday.

A fixture at the city’s NPR affiliate for 30 years, Branson hung up his headphones a few weeks ago.

Branson is currently battling cancer, the station said, and retirement will enable the former afternoon host to spend time traveling and biking with his wife, Fran.

“His short-term prognosis is good and his good humor is very much intact,” the station said in a message to listeners.

Branson first joined KUT in 1986 as a volunteer, taking on a number of new responsibilities over the years. Before departing, he most recently had hosting duties from noon to 4 p.m. weekdays.

“We will miss his sharp wit and word play, including his delivery of, “‘BBC Newshour’ is coming up after ‘The World’ ends at 3,’” with a sly grin you could almost hear,” the station said in its listener message.

A search is underway for a new afternoon host, KUT said.